Kulgera is the first and last stopover point in the Northern Territory. Kulgera is the Aboriginal name for an outcrop of granite rocks, just east of the settlement - the place of the weeping eye.
Kulgera was a sheep station (the homestead can be seen there) and remained isolated until the realignment of the new Stuart Highway.
Chambers Pillar is northeast of Kulgera. The landmark sandstone column was named by John Mcdouall Stuart after his expedition sponsor James Chambers. It is known to Aboriginal people as Itirkarawa – the Gecko ancestor from their dreaming legends.
The Centre of Australia
Explorer John McDouall Stuart, the first European to reach Central Australia, selected the highest point in what he considered was the centre of Australia. He named it Central Mount Sturt (now Central Mount Stuart), north of Alice Springs.
The Lambert Centre of Australia
Years later the challenge was on to discover the EXACT Centre of Australia by using the latest in scientific methodology.
On the 22nd March 1994, some 250 travellers gathered at a point some 50 miles from Kulgera to erect a monument and declare the spot as the true Centre of Gravity of Australia. The monument is a mini replica of the flagpole above Parliament House in Canberra.
The Maquarie Dictionary's definition for the centre of Gravity is: "that point of a body from which it could be suspended, or on which it could be supported and be in equilibrium in any position in a uniform gravitational field".
The complex calculations needed to assume a curved surface with no distortions (such as hills, rivers, valleys) and the distribution of weight, thickness of the earth's crust, distortions of gravity were not available. Further, the ebb and flow of the tides added a variable. A high speed computer made the calculations from data retrieved from maps of 24,417 points about 800 metres apart around the coastline. The result was: Latitude 25º 36' 36.4" Longitude 134º 21' 17.3'E.
The gathering included notables, explorer Len Beadell (surveyor of Woomera and the Gun Barrell Highway fame) and Surveyor Doctor Bruce Lambert who was prominent in mapping and surveying in Australia.